Fresh research by Innova Market Insights has found that while the number of available omega 3-enriched dairy products has continued to rise in recent years, the proportion of dairy products launches featuring omega 3 claims has begun to decrease.
According to the Dutch market research firm, 2.4% of all dairy products launched in the year ended 31 October 2008 featured omega 3 claims. In the same period of 2013, this figure fell to 1.5%.
"Tightening up of claims legislation"
Commenting, Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, said that dairy manufacturers are increasingly relying on consumer knowledge about the benefits of omega 3 to market their products.
“While awareness of the potential health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids has risen over the years, recent tightening up of claims legislation has tended to decrease the use of this type of claim in relation to specific benefits,” said Williams.
“Terms such as ‘high in omega 3s’, ‘contains omega 3’, ‘rich in omega 3s’ have continued to be used, but links to heart health, brain and cognitive health, eye health, etc. have been much less in evidence, with companies relying more on existing consumer knowledge about potential benefits," she said.
Claims regarding cholesterol maintenance and heart and circulatory health have given way to more general claims such as ‘health for all the family’, Innova said.
“Still interest in the sector”
Williams added, however, that while product activity in omega 3 fortified dairy products has been less evident in recent years, "there is still interest in the sector and potential for further development."
The US and Asia are, for example, slightly ahead of the curve, according to Innova.
In the US, omega 3 enriched dairy products accounted for 3.8% of all dairy launches in 2013. While in health conscious Asia, 2.6% of all dairy products launched in 2013 featured omega 3 claims.
Interest in omega 3 fortified milk is also rising in the US, Innova said. According to their research, nearly 8% of US milk launches in the 12 months to the end of October 2013 were marketed with omega 3 claims. The global figure is just 3%.